Understanding Hair Loss

How Does Hair Loss Happen?

As all hairs are shed at the end of their growth cycle, some degree of hair loss is accepted as normal in every individual. During the resting stage of the hair growth cycle the hair relaxes its hold on the hair root and the bulb of the hair shaft moves closer to the surface of the skin.

Over time, usual hair movements, shampooing and brushing causes the hair root to loosen further. Eventually, the hair is shed. The shedding of around 50 to 150 hairs per day by this way is normal.

Male-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Men who have this type of hair loss usually have inherited the trait. Men who start losing their hair at an early age tend to develop more extensive baldness. In male-pattern baldness, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head.

Women may develop female-pattern baldness. In this form of hair loss, you may experience thinning hair over the entire scalp.

Hair Loss
Find Out About Hair

Many people are unaware of the complex nature of hair, from the different types of hair to its structure and growth cycle. Vellus hairs, Terminal hairs, and Intermediate hairs, the detailed and structured make up of hair follicles and the hair shaft within the skin (epidermis) as well as the cycle of growth of hair, its growing stage, intermediate and finally resting or shedding stage can all be read about in this section.

This section describes the three main types of hairs i.e. Vellus hairs, Terminal hairs, and Intermediate hairs, the detailed and structured make up of hair follicles and the hair shaft within the skin (epidermis) as well as the cycle of growth of hair, its growing stage, intermediate and finally resting or shedding stage. At The Harley Street Hair Clinic we offer a range of hair loss treatments that can help you with the types of hair loss discussed in this section.

Hair Loss
Male Hair Loss

Receding Hairline is the most common pattern of hair loss in men. Men who have this type of hair loss usually have inherited the trait. Men who start losing their hair at an early age tend to develop more extensive baldness. In male pattern baldness, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head. However, there are many different causes of hair loss for men.

Female Hair Loss

There are generally three types of women hair loss. These are summed up via the three following categories - androgenetic alopecia, Telogen effluvium, and non-pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women, and the pattern of hair loss in this case, is less predictable in women than it is men. Telogen effluvium can arise from many causes, including medication use, dietary tendencies, and stress. Then there are all of the other rarer types of hair loss, which fall into the 'non pattern hair loss category'.

Genes

Hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia occurs only if a person has a specific genetic code in his or her chromosomes. This code responsible for baldness is carried by a single gene or a group of genes and may be inherited from either mother or father.

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Hormones

Several types of androgens can affect a single hair follicle and different types of hair follicles in different regions of the skin respond to the same androgen in different ways. For example, hairs located on the armpit respond to androgens by growing, whereas hairs in the scalp fall out in response to them.

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Stress

In many cases of hair loss the root of the problem is stress. Stress has always been with us and is not a new phenomenon. Owing to increased awareness through medical advances and the way that the condition is reported in the media, we now have a better understanding of the debilitating effect it can have on people.

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Ageing

As people get older, some hairs randomly begin to shrink both in length and diameter. This process is called miniaturisation. As a result, miniaturised hairs will be shed and actual follicular units decrease in number.

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Glossary of hair loss terms
Androgenetic Alopecia

The most common cause of hair loss in men and women is androgenetic alopecia. This condition is inherited and tends to cluster in families. Sensitivity to the effects of male hormones (androgens) on the scalp and hair follicles causes thinning of the hair in women, the same way that it does with men, although women will rarely develop a receding hair line.

Androgenetic alopecia is more common in men than women and can start as early as teen years. Female pattern baldness differs to male pattern baldness, as women's hair generally thins rather than falling out

Anagen effluvium

Anagen effluvium is the sudden hair loss resulting from exposure to radiation or certain chemicals. This type of hair loss is mostly seen during or after chemotherapy or radiotherapy applied to cancer patients. In these hair loss cases, the hair skips the resting stage of its growth cycle, and a sudden hair loss occurs within 1 to 3 weeks following the exposure. The hair loss caused by chemotherapy is mostly reversible, while the hair loss caused by radiotherapy is irreversible.

Male Hair Loss

98% of men who experience hair loss in their lifetime do so as a result of androgenetic alopecia. This usually begins with a receding hair line and can often result in severe hair loss eventually. Apart from androgenetic alopecia, there is also Telogen effluvium and non pattern hair loss. The former is hair loss that is usually caused by the likes of medication, diet patterns, stress, and thyroid abnormalities. The latter relates to any random and rare hair loss experienced, such as scarring alopecia and compulsive hair pulling (also known as trichotillomania).

Female hair loss

There are generally three types of women hair loss. These are summed up via the three following categories - androgenetic alopecia, Telogen effluvium, and non-pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women, and the pattern of hair loss in this case, is less predictable in women than it is men. Telogen effluvium can arise from many causes, including medication use, dietary tendencies, and stress. Then there are all of the other rarer types of hair loss, which fall into the 'non pattern hair loss category'.

Normal Hair Loss

As all hairs are shed at the end of their growth cycle, some degree of hair loss is accepted as normal in every individual. During the resting stage of the hair growth cycle the hair relaxes its hold on the hair root and the bulb of the hair shaft moves closer to the surface of the skin.

Over time, usual hair movements, shampooing and brushing causes the hair root to loosen further. Eventually, the hair is shed. The shedding of around 50 to 150 hairs per day by this way is normal. On following days, the hair follicle grows a new hair to replace the one, which is shed.

Self Induced Hair Loss

Either consciously or unconsciously, self-inflicted damage to hairs may be a cause of hair loss in some individuals. There are two types of self-induced hair loss:

Trichotillomania - This type of hair loss is commonly seen in childhood, more frequently in girls than in boys. The people who compulsively and continuously pull or pluck their hairs experience trichotillomania. This implies that this disorder has a strong psychological basis.

Traction alopecia - This type of hair loss is caused by the continuous and excessive pulling and tension of the hair due to some types of hair styling or hair systems fixed on the hair itself.

Telogen Effluvium

This type of hair loss occurs in response to certain stress events. A sudden and severe stress causes an increase in the amount of the hairs being shed. The source of stress resulting in hair loss can be events such as childbirth, pregnancy termination, starting or stopping the use of oral contraceptive drugs, premenopausal period, drugs used in diet regimens, some emotional stresses etc. These events will cause the hair to stay in the resting phase for about only 3 months. Then, a large amount of hair will be shed.